Mauritius to give financial aid to small & medium cane planters for 2 crop years
This financial assistance comes in the wake of the recent decline in the price of sugar across the EU, which is likely to have a significant impact on the sugar sector. (Image: Wikimedia)
The government of Mauritius will provide small and medium sugarcane planters with financial assistance over two crop years, amid the abolition of the European Union (EU) Sugar Quota.
“For the first year, approximately Rs 200 million will be disbursed by government to help the 18,000 small and medium sugarcane planters who produce some 100,000 tonnes,” said agriculture minister Satya Veyash Faugoo, yesterday, June 09, 2014, at a press conference in Port Louis.
During the press conference he explained that this financial assistance comes in the wake of the recent decline in the price of sugar across the EU, which is likely to have a significant impact on the sugar sector.
The assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impact of the abolition of the EU Sugar Quota is currently being carried out by the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, noted Minister Faugoo.
“The fall in the price of sugar, from Rs 16,000/tonnes in 2013 to Rs 14,000/tonnes this year, can pose a serious threat to the sugar cane industry and can drive more planters to abandon their fields,” stated the minister.
Minister Faugoo also recalled that since 2008, as many as 11,500 hectares of sugar cane plantations have been abandoned by planters for a number of reasons.
The measure put forward by the government would thus ensure that the critical volume of cane required for the financial viability of the industry is met.
Additionally, he advised that small and medium sugar cane planters, who are most vulnerable to this decline in the price of sugar, should form groups to benefit from help schemes.
Finally, he evoked the Field Operations, Regrouping and Irrigation Project (FORIP) which has been implemented in favour of sugar cane planters since 2006, to cover some 12,000 hectares. The objectives of FORIP are to improve the cost competitiveness of planters and ensure sustainable and reliable supply of cane by small planters.
Approximately 100 hectares of abandoned sugar cane fields have been rehabilitated under FORIP 2013 and provision has been made for the rehabilitation of an additional 100 hectares under FORIP 2014.